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A INCLUSION OF THE NEXT WAVE OF ENTREPRENEURIAL TALENT HUBS A grounds-up report on the state of entrepreneurship among technology students across India


Foreword As India gets younger and more populous everyday, the universe of opportunities for the coming generation must also expand accordingly. The task of creating those opportunities must be at the forefront of the agenda of policymakers, industry and the academia. In a highly competitive world, slowing global economy, creating more opportunities to engage the young will be one of the most daunting tasks of our times.

While the task of seeding the thought of entrepreneurship lies with the society as whole but the process will have to begin from our colleges and institutions. The eorts to do that have been made before but it is very little in comparison to the gigantic task we are upto. To do this successfully our understanding of entrepreneurship at the grassroot level within our student community needs to increase and this study we believe has the potential to bring to light many insights upon which Entrepreneurship is among the most potent tools our future course of action can be built upon. We to create greater opportunities in this context. Not hope that the stakeholders of entrepreneurship only do we need to build hubs of entrepreneurial communities in the country will ďŹ nd the insights activities but we also need to expand the access useful. to entrepreneurial resources and training to the widest possible number of people in our country. Seeding the thought of entreprenuership in the young mind is of utmost importance. Its the kind of long term investment that this country needs to make for the long term, failing to do this will lead India to miss the global bus of entrepreneurship lead technology advancement.

UT Rao Professor & Head, Comcubator MICA School of Business, Ahmedabad

A new model for entrepreneurship in India Entrepreneurship is a very powerful force that can change the face of India. As India becomes one of the youngest nation of the world, entrepreneurship will become the tool that will hold the key to shape our future. However as this young country charts its way in entrepreneurship, it will not be the same model as we see elsewhere in the world. It will be a very unique Indian model of entrepreneurship. The scale of India brings into this game something that is fundamentally dierent than elsewhere. The scale at which any model of entrepreneurship in India will have to operate, will itself necessitate a dierent model of entrepreneurship. This model will be decentralized, inclusive and scalability driven but at a collective level rather than at the individual level. Elements of this model will emerge when we are able to rope in the large number of Indian students from every corner of the country beyond the metropolitans. The impact and the output of any working model at this scale

Yash Saxena Founder, Openfuel

will far exceed any which we have been use to see now. This report is one attempt to chart out how can we include larger number of student communities in dierent parts of this country into the entrepreneurial development agenda of the country. The survey has brought how we are failing to provide even the most basic inputs to our student community across this country and that needs to change.

Sample: 450 Responses Central -


East -


North -


South -


West -


A pan-India survey that covered 24 states and reached a number of cities beyond the metropolitans of India, including Kashmir and farthest reaches of North-east. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

AP TN Guj Har Raj UT WB Mah UP Jharkand Kar Arunachal Pradesh MP Kerala Goa

16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24.

Punjab Manipur Meghalaya Bihar Sikkim Assam J&K Gujarat HP

Responses from 58 Institutes including 3 IITs + 22 NITs Central -


East -


North -






List of institutes covered: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

AP IIIT-RK Valley AVIT Babaria Institute of Technology DCRUST Murthal Dronacharya College of Engineering GITAM University Global Instutute of Technology Jaipur Graphic era university Heritage Institute of Technology IIT Bombay IIT Kanpur IIT Roorkee Indian School of Mines Dhanbad Jadavpur University Jeppiaar Engineering College JNTU hyderabad JSSATE Noida Mahraja Agrasen Institute Of Technology MIT Manipal NIT Jaipur NIT Agartala NIT Allahabad NIT Bhopal NIT Calicut NIT Durgapur NIT Goa NIT Jalandhar NIT Kurukshetra NIT Manipur NIT Meghalaya NIT Nagpur

32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58.

NIT Patna NIT RAIPUR NIT Sikkim NIT Silchar NIT Srinagar NIT Surat NIT Surathkal NIT Trichy NIT Uttarakhand NIT Warangal Pimpri Chinchwad College of engineering Poornima group of institutions Jaipur Shri mata vaishno devi university Shri Ram Murti Smarak College of Engineering and Technology Siddhant college of engineering Symbiosis center for management studies, Pune SOET, HNBGU, A Central University, Srinagar Garhwal, Uttarakhand SRKR Engineering College SRM University SSIT Gandhinagar St. Francis Institute Of Technology Thakur College Of Engineering And Technology Thapar University University Institute of Information Technology Shimla University of Petroleum and Energy Studies visvesvaraya college of engineering and technology Walchand college of engineering sangli

Searching for the Missing Entrepreneurs 1,500,000 That is the number of technology students that graduate out of India each year. What does young India thinks about entrepreneurship?


Our survey found that 57% of the Indian engineering students want to startup in the short to medium term1.

Out of those only 3% Chinese and 22% US students This is typically the number of end up joining or launching a startup. But for India startups that get funded in India each this ďŹ gure is probably lower than even 1%! year! For a country of a billion people, getting younger each day Where is this country losing out its entrepreneurs? In and producing tons of technology this report 'A Dream for Everyone' we search for the graduates - this number is not missing entrepreneurs of India, from all corners of beďŹ tting by any means. Why is India the country. not producing 1.5K fundable startups instead of just 150! 50% of the top Chinese engineering students want to startup. 65% of the US engineering students want to startup.

50% 65% 57% 1 Student who want to start startups just after their college of after 3 years of work US & China gures based on Innovation and University Backgrounder, Pollack E, Darwin R, Yu J, 2011

The Pipeline is Broken The journey of entrepreneurship is tough, for a student it gets even tougher when they fail to get the right inputs to nurture the entrepreneur within themselves. Our survey found out that the student community in India in even some of the top-tier colleges in India lacks access to the most basic inputs for their entrepreneurial development. Our study focused on three types of inputs:




Can you teach entrepreneurship in classroom? Yes! The problem is not that it can’t be taught in classroom; the problem is that it is often taught the wrong way. Classroom is a good place to start the entrepreneurial discussion, initiate, inspire. But the Indian educational system is failing massively in delivering this conversation to their students.

92% of the Indian engineering students have not attended a single course in Entrepreneurship. But the system fails massively at another level. Of the very few who have attended a course in their institutions, very few have heard about even the most basic contemporary fundamentals of starting up in their classrooms.

Starting up is tough, you need lots of courage but also a little knowledge. Startup founders globally are strongly mentored to bootstrap their startups, keep them lean, use tools like Business Model Canvas , pivot their business models when required or get acqui-hired when suitable. Understanding this information equips startup founders better for the rough rocky rides of starting up. Classroom is a great place to equip students of this knowledge. However our survey found that even where students are receiving pedagogical training, they are not receiving such vital inputs in their pedagogy.

Only 16% of the students who were taught entrepreneurship in classroom were taught important basics of starting up There is a positive relationship between awareness about these startup fundamentals and the intention to startup. 67% of the students who are aware of such basic knowledge about starting up also wanted to startup after their college or after 3 years of work experience as against only 56% who were not or incompletely aware of such basic knowledge. The need to improve the pedagogy is clear and loud.

However here is the hole in the pipeline: Nearly 75% of the students willing to startup immediately after their colleges 75% are not being taught these in their courses! Without a strong initiation to startup world, these entrepreneurial minds may drop their idea. Worse their nascent eorts to startup may suer a bumpier ride if these inputs are not made available to them. A classroom is a nice place to ensure that they get these inputs for starting up. “Entrepreneurship should be given equal importance as our course syllabus." Rahul Singh, NIT Surathkal

The classroom world is not enough : Learning through extra-curricular activities While classroom learning is an important part of the pipeline but there are more parts of the pipeline where the system is leaking away entrepreneurs. Activities beyond classroom can give a greater hands-on experience allow experimentation that goes beyond the academic calendars, classroom boundaries and allows greater customization of learning environment such as mixing students from dierent departments, years or even institutes. Academic system in India is failing to enhance the entrepreneurial learning through extra-curricular events

Only 10.8% of the students have a frequent access to entrepreneurship focussed workshops and events. Entrepreneurship focussed workshops and events help students understand startups and gain access to startup resources, knowledge and mentors. Besides being a source through which students can learn more workshops can also be important sources to provide connection with mentors who can mentor students. "Last time when I reached upto the Finals of Ventura'13 (B-Plan Competition), Jury was ďŹ ne but not upto the mark. I wish I could have had some support devising the Financial model for my B-Plan. I wish I have had some specialized

workshop on the same and on some related topics as well! " Lokesh Maru, NIT- Tiruchirapalli Through such events and workshops students can interact with successful entrepreneurs. Such interactions have a very strong positive relationship with the intention to startup.



Close to 80% of those who frequently meet successful entrepreneurs also intend to startup soon or in medium term.

Exposure with entrepreneurs for Indian technology students missing Inspite of this strong relation between starting up and exposure with entrepreneurs, only 13% of the students in India are able to frequently meet or interact with successful entrepreneurs. A large number of students in India, especially those in non-metropolitan cities, thus struggle access to even exposure to entrepreneurs and mentors. The large number of these students spread across Indian in the non-metropolitans form a very large part of the student community. Giving them the right inputs is vital in nurturing the next generation of startup talent. "Having just a structured course in entrepreneurship sector is not of much utility as learning becomes highly examination oriented. Its is better to teach students to think critically and get us to interact with successful entrepreneurs," Keith Peres Da Costa, Student, NIT Goa

Ecells either missing or not working as expected in Indian technology colleges "Focus on tangible initiatives rather than arranging random disjointed events and workshops which most of the ecells in India do. Try observing the model of foreign Universities" Mahak Maheshwari, Student , IIT Bombay Yet as some students suggest that holding entrepreneurship workshops is just the first step. There should also be an structure and meaning to what these workshops should do. E-Cells together with their institutions can be a very vital agent in bringing the structure. Infact Entrepreneurship cell (E-Cells)should be the most fundamental grassroot unit of entrepreneurship development in academic institutions, Only 47% of the institutes surveyed had E-Cells; The figure for centrally aided institutions only marginally improves the mark at 52%. Not only E-Cells are absent from many Indian institutions but worse they are failing to work as desired even where they are present. Our survey found that access to ecells did not dramatically increase the chances of the student intention of starting up significantly. 52% of those who did not have an access to ecell wanted to startup immediately or in 3 years of work experience. The figure increases to only 63% when it comes to those with an access to ecells! " The E-cell of our college is not an independent body and gets no resources from the institute directly. The E-cell was initiated by a few students of a technical club and till date it hasn't got any recognition from the college authorities even after many eorts by the E-cell team " Navin Gupta, an NIT student.

Where else is the pipeline leaking? Each 7 out of 10 technology students are taking part in BPlan competitions in India. But the Bplan competition format needs to be improved and its access to it within institutions increased. 65% of those who intend to startup in medium term, do not have access to regular BPlan competitions in their institutes. Q. Is Bplan competitions held in your institute?

200 100 150 100

Just once a year None -



Regularly -


Was held sometime back, but not anymore







Finally what is the state of community inputs to the technology students for taking up entrepreneurship? Community inputs and the local culture of starting up has a great impact on staring up intention of students. Our survey found overwhelming evidence of the same in Indian technology students. We found that there is a strong relation between living in a community where many people startup and the intention to startup in Indian students. Of those who had many friends who were themselves starting up

76% 24%

wanted to startup soon or in medium term didnt want to startup anytime soon

But with those who had no friends starting up, Only


wanted to startup soon or in medium term

The rest


didnt want to startup anytime soon

Yet it seems most technology communities are lacking this community support and motivation to startup Q. When we asked do you have friends who want to startup? We found that only 12% had a community around themselves where many people were starting up.


This also means that it is important to keep the entrepreneurial minds in distant Indian cities in touch with similar minds across India as well as the institution's alumni community who is starting up. Awareness about alumni entrepreneurs also has a very positive relationship with the student intention to startup. Nearly 80% of the students who frequently come across their alumni entrepreneurs want to startup soon or in medium term. The ďŹ gure falls below 50% for those who do not come across their alumni entrepreneurs. When asked Q. Do you know of any alumni from your institution who are running their own companies ?

No friends

200 240 Few friends

100 150 100

What this means for the academic communities of India is that it will take a lot more eort to get those ďŹ rst few entrepreneurs out and create a local community of students where many students are starting up to really motivate the next generation of starters up.

Frequently No -



Rarely -


Sometimes -




50 71

Many friends



Only 16% of the students come across their alumni entrepreneurs frequently. It suggests that there is a huge disconnect between the alumni who have started up and their alma mater. Infact alumni entrepreneurs connected to the student community at their alma mater would give more boost to the intention of starting up for the current student community. However this is a vital missing link in the academic institutions. " Entrepreneurship is perceived to be a diversion from the traditional focus on placements, and therefore is largely discouraged. It is the success of a start-up of an alumni that has forced our university to allow such establishment " Sayan Ganguly, an engineering student studying in an Andhra Pradesh based University

Concluding Remarks To further the entrepreneurship development in the student community in India , we need to pursue a three pronged strategy that focuses on pedagogical interventions, extra-curricular learning activities and a connected community that gives student entrepreneur the realization that he can startup too.

Lastly entrepreneurship decision are very inuenced by the community the students live in. For most students their immediate friend circle is an important. The survey has found a strong relationship between the starting up and having friends who are also starting up as. The same was also found about the connectedness of alumni entrepreneurs with the student community. The survey found that the state of inputs currently Together it suggests that the third part of the being provided to the students is lacking entrepreneurial inputs triad to the student comprehensively at all three counts: The community should focus on building a connected pedagogy inputs on entrepreneurship are community of student entrepreneurs. The more reaching less than 10% of the students and that immediate this connectedness is the better. too are not delivering vital information to students. The extracurricular learning envelope provided to most technology students is very primitive. Moreover E-Cells the very basic unit of grassroot entrepreneurship development is failing to deliver any dramatic improvements in the motivation to students to startup.

Partners: NIT Conclave

Design and Communications partner:

Supported by SVNIT

Industry Sponsor:

Thanks to NIT Conclave team at SVNIT: Raj Kolawala, Paritosh Vyas, Sneha Agarwal, Priyanka Churiwala

A dream for everyone: india student entrepreneurship survey  

Survey on State of Entrepreneurship among the students across India. How technology students across India think and what kind of access they...